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Telemedicine and EHR: Changing the shape of Primary Care in rural areas

Primary care physicians are rapidly adopting the growing field of telemedicine to provide timely care to their patients. Coupled with primary care Electronic Health Records (EHRs), telemedicine enables physicians to defy place and time boundaries to assist patients with quality care.

This trend is gradually picking up pace among primary care practitioners in rural areas to help people who live wide distances apart. Through telemedicine, physicians can provide remote medical care to the patients who are in need of physician advice for non-emergency purposes.

Primary Care EHR

Some primary care physicians are hesitant to adopt telemedicine, fearing this approach may replace them physically and will have a devastating impact on their practice. Telemedicine physicians have proved them wrong.

Primary care physicians have been helping their patients with medical advice on the telephone for a long time. As time progressed, communication has become more face-to-face, using video conferencing which strengthens patient-physician relationship.

This form of healthcare has been most beneficial for mental health patients who are reluctant to be seen at the physician’s practice, which is still considered a stigma in rural areas. Diabetics, hypertension patients and others who need a prescription refill can connect with their primary physicians via technology.

This approach is particularly helpful for physicians who do not have to stay long hours in the clinic. With patient records available on their EHRs, they can advise their patients from comfort of their home. Moreover, if they are using a Cloud-based Primary Care EHR, then all you need is a working internet connection to access patient records.

Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association rightly said, “What’s different is the change in technology and access to broadband that makes it more widely available to doctors and patients.”